Forecasting memory function in aging: pattern-completion ability and hippocampal activity relate to visuospatial functioning over 25 years
Lars Nyberg, Xenia Grande, Micael Andersson, David Berron, Anders Lundquist, Mikael Stiernstedt, Anders Fjell, Kristine Walhovd, Greger Oräd. Neurobiology of Aging, Volume 94, October 2020, Pages 217-226.
Heterogeneity in episodic memory functioning in aging was assessed with a pattern-completion functional magnetic resonance imaging task that required reactivation of well-consolidated face-name memory traces from fragmented (partial) or morphed (noisy) face cues. About half of the examined individuals (N = 101) showed impaired (chance) performance on fragmented faces despite intact performance on complete and morphed faces, and they did not show a pattern-completion response in hippocampus or the examined subfields (CA1, CA23, DGCA4). This apparent pattern-completion deficit could not be explained by differential hippocampal atrophy. Instead, the impaired group displayed lower cortical volumes, accelerated reduction in mini-mental state examination scores, and lower general cognitive function as defined by longitudinal measures of visuospatial functioning and speed-of-processing. In the full sample, inter-individual differences in visuospatial functioning predicted performance on fragmented faces and hippocampal CA23 subfield activity over 25 years. These findings suggest that visuospatial functioning in middle age can forecast pattern-completion deficits in aging.